My celly went to minimum this past week (technically, they’d moved me to a different unit a few days before he left, so he wasn’t my celly at the time). I’d known him pretty much since I arrived here and we’d gotten to know each other well. It wasn’t like we were best friends or anything; in fact, I really don’t consider anyone I’ve met in prison a friend because of how the environment allows us to coverup our true characters. We simply had a number of things in common, and I’d forgotten how much easier life tends to be – especially in this land of stagnancy and small-mindedness – when people with similar personalities and interests are around.
In the world, if someone I was cool with moved, I could call, e-mail, or Skype them. I could go visit them, for a while even. I could go out or go online and find some new people to kick it with. And, if nothing else, I could stay completely to myself; have my food delivered; buy some old Tai-bo workout DVD for exercise; and earn a living as a fantasy sports guru. My point is that whether or not I have someone to help me I have to face this jungle of misery every single day.
A lot of guys here, of course, do find like minds – after all, the place is full of criminals and criminals tend to have low standards. But most of us are lucky to encounter people we can be ourselves around. The majority of the time we have to play a game of pretend and avoid in order to navigate through the neck-high sea of bull crap.
My old celly and I will correspond here and there until he gets out in a few years. Then I’ll probably hear from him occasionally until he disappears in the horizon of free life. And I won’t be upset with any of this. It’s simply the nature of prison; out of sight, out of mind.
Living as a lone wolf in this jungle is a constant struggle. Not only is there the hour to hour grind but there’s the long-term impact of relying on myself so much mentally and spiritually for so long. Will I be able to connect with people when I return to society? Will I be able to be real with my friends and family and genuinely care about their troubles and opinions?
It’s truly an uphill battle when we get out. We have to re-establish relationships, redevelop our networks and regain a feel for the environment we’ve been away from. But each time we go back to prison, that hill only gets steeper. And the more time we spend with our heads down, the more likely we are to get lost in all the obstacles along the way.
Stay focused on your goals at the top. Rely on your faith, reach out to those that care about you, and always keep in mind that you’ve made it through the worst. Do not let yourself fall back to the bottom.
Keep boxing temptation.
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